(Doing These 3 Things)
I’m going to start this post on a downer note, contrary to what most all of the writing courses and books tell writers to do. Please, bear with me though. It’ll end okay.
Does it seem to you that life has gotten harder since the beginning of 2021 (or even longer ago)?
I listen to my clients and students, as well as my friends and family. And I try to be aware of what is happening in our society, culture, politics, and business. Based on what I hear, there is plenty of stress happening in and around many of our lives.
You may be encountering stress somewhere in your life. Unless you are one of the rocket-riding, super-wealthy buying your way into outer space, you might even be downright struggling: emotionally, physically, and/or financially.
Around the world, there are more unhoused and “working poor” than ever before. COVID-19 has taken well over 600,000 loved ones from us just in the U.S. and it is nowhere near done with us yet. Small businesses are closing every day.
I’ll stop there. You get the picture. Hell, you might even be IN the picture.
The reason I’m writing this piece is because I want to encourage you, prod you, and/or plead with you…
Do Not give up and give into fear, hatred, blame, shame, and ignorance.
Do Not do that.
Instead, I urge you (like, “hair on fire” urge you), Don’t Stop.
Don’t stop doing these three things that can, as the late Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg so often said, “make life more wonderful”.
Don’t Stop Being Kind
Someone shared a quote by Henry James with me just the other day that makes this point clearly and succinctly.
Three things in
human life are
important: the first is
to be kind; the
second is to be kind;
and the third is to be
~ Henry James
A type of meanness has infected our culture, business environments, and politics. Many of our sisters, brothers, and non-binary folks have been infected by it. We all suffer as a result because it destroys our rightful dignity.
I wrote about this in my previous post, “A More Dangerous Virus”, which I invite you to read when you finish this one.
Kindness doesn’t mean you need to like everyone or agree with everything they do or say. You don’t serve kindness by becoming a doormat either.
What I ask you to do is to see and understand that everyone of us is a precious human being who is doing the best we can with the resources we can access in any given moment. To be sure, sometimes, someone’s “best” might be causing a lot of harm…maybe to you. Even so, you have the potential in you to respond with kindness, regardless of the other person’s meanness.
You may need to be kind from a distance, especially if you are actively being harmed. Don’t stand there and allow a person to physically or verbally accost you. Get yourself somewhere safe.
Then, hold a kind thought for them, call someone or an agency on their behalf and request help for them, or call Emergency Services if the situation warrants. But, be kind, as best you are able. You’re doing your best too.
Be on the lookout for any opportunity to spread kindness to all living beings, human and non-human.
Importantly, when you slip up and you are unkind, own it without shaming yourself. If it’s appropriate, ask the other person for a re-do. If they say, “No”, (or something a little more colorful), forgive yourself, know that you tried, then move on. There will be another chance for your kindness to shine through.
Don’t Stop Trying To Be Better
The late Dr. Wayne Dyer was often transparent about the weaknesses and missteps in his life. Still, he never stopped trying to be better. Often, he would say something like, “I know that I am a better person today than I used to be.”
Those words have motivated me for decades to become a better man than I was in the first four-and-a-half decades of my life. Today, in my late 60s, I am still working to be a better father, a better anti-racist, a better friend, and an all-around better human being.
Some days, I make solid steps forward. Other days, I take responsibility for my mistakes, hold myself accountable, and try to figure out where I went off track. Then, I work really hard to get myself back on track and move forward again.
How can you make an effort to be better?
Well, you can take an honest look at your life as it is right now and ask yourself, “Where do I need improvement?” Remember my first point. That is, be kind to yourself. And, be rigorously honest too.
It might be too scary to do that exercise by yourself. If so, ask a trusted friend for some empathic and honest feedback about where you are not stepping up to your full potential. You might ask them for help in coming up with a personal transformation strategy. If they are not able to help you with creating a strategy, consider hiring a personal transformation coach to get the support you need.
You can schedule a free, 45-minute, Discovery Coaching call with me to explore possibilities for working together, if you would like to get started.
Regardless of what type of support you choose, don’t stop working to be the best version of yourself possible.
And speaking of support…
Don’t Stop Being A True Friend
I don’t know about you, but I have the great honor in my life to have not one, but several True Friends. I have entrusted these folks with the darkest pieces of my past. In return, they have offered me compassion, clarity, honesty, love, and non-judgment.
The previous point was about continuously working to become a better version of ourselves. For me, these friends are a huge part of my support system and have helped me become the person I am today.
And, they are the type of friends with whom I am a better human being simply by being with them (even if it’s only on Zoom!). They lift me up because they also do the work of becoming better humans.
Now, understand, my friends and I are not “perfect”. We show up sometimes in ways that fall short of how we aspire to be. Those things do not stop us though. In fact, when we slip up, we have the kind of trust of, and love for each other that we can admit our mistakes, take responsibility, and be accountable, without guilt, shame, self-loathing, or any of those other toxic behaviors.
If you have not found at least one True Friend yet, don’t stop looking. Importantly, don’t settle either. That is, don’t latch onto someone who negatively influences you, just because you want to have a friend. Hold out for that person with whom both of you can encourage and motivate each other to be your best.
You are worthy of that kind of friendship.
You are able to offer that kind of friendship too.
Let’s pull these three points together now.
Times are tough.
We have the potential to rise up to meet our challenges as individuals and as a society with kindness, self-improvement, and true friendship.
It is more important today than ever before that we raise up ourselves, lift up our loved ones and refuse to make others our enemies. As I said, it is “hair on fire” important.
So will you join me and set your intentions to be Kind, Better, and a True Friend?
If so, then please share this post with someone (click the social media icon at the bottom of the page). Ask them to read and share it.
Together, we can face these tough times and come out the other side as even better versions of ourselves than ever before.
I love you.
I wish you Peace & Joy.
P.S. Click here to read my post about the “enemy-image” virus and learn how to prevent it from infecting you.